North Korean minister's surprise Sweden visit fuels speculation over Trump talks

North Korean minister's surprise Sweden visit fuels speculation over Trump talks

The visit has fuelled speculation about a possible meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Sweden is happy to help resolve tensions on the Korean peninsula but it is up to the parties involved to try to find a way forward, Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom said on Friday.

Ri and Wallstrom dined together at the foreign ministry on Thursday evening, then met again on Friday at Villa Bonnier, a lavish building used by the government for official functions which is located near the United States embassy.

According to the channel's foreign policy analyst Erika Bjerström, the meeting between Ri and Wallström meeting had been scheduled for months, but the agenda changed to accommodate recent diplomatic developments involving proposed talks between the North and South Korean leaders in late April and between Kim and President Donald Trump by the end of May.

Sweden's embassy in North Korea's capital, Pyongyang, represents U.S., Canadian and Australian interests and provides consular services in the country.

It is one of the few western states with a diplomatic channel to the North Korean leadership and may be able to smooth out obstacles in the path of a summit meeting.

Worldwide media have speculated that Sweden could either help set up a proposed summit or be a potential location if a tete-a-tete were to be confirmed.

Meanwhile, Choe Kang Il, a North Korean official in charge of negotiations with the United States, also arrived in Beijing on Thursday.

N.Korean-Swedish foreign ministers meeting ends
A planned inter-Korean summit, to be held at the truce village of Panmunjeom, will be followed by the first-ever U.S. He said he did not expect the announcement of a date or location for a Trump-Kim meeting.

"I think it's much too early to speculate about that. we're not there yet", Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven told news agency TT.

North Korea's defiant nuclear and missile programme has led to severe global sanctions against Pyongyang in the hope they would force the regime to abandon its military threats.

However, North Korea watchers should not be overly optimistic about the current tone.

Some media have reported that Ri, who was stationed at North Korea's embassy in Stockholm from 1985 to 1988, will stay in the Scandinavian country until tomorrow, though Swedish officials would not confirm this.

There has been no official word from North Korea since the invitation was delivered via South Korean officials in Washington.

Speaking in Berlin yesterday, Lofven said that if Sweden "can serve as a facilitator to bring about results, then we will of course do that".

Both meetings are expected to focus on ways to rid the North of its nuclear weapons program.

TBS said Abe told Moon he wanted North Korea to not only suspend nuclear and missile testing, but also accept International Atomic Energy Inspectors on its soil.

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